A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Repaving Gibson Hill: Wait till next year

Written May 22nd, 2021 by Hasso Hering

Gibson Hill Road near Fire Station 14 on Friday evening. The road’s resurfacing will have to wait.

Many North Albany commuters have learned to dodge the cracks and rough spots in the pavement on Gibson Hill Road, which is good because they’ll have to do so for at least another year.

Gibson Hill used to be a quiet county road. Then, after the annexation of 1991, subdivision construction took off in the part of North Albany within the city limits and turned the road into a heavily used traffic artery.

For years the plan has been for the county to turn jurisdiction of Gibson Hill over to the city of Albany, but the city wants the road to be improved first.

When last I checked on this, in March 2019, the county said it had to postpone the improvements until 2021 because other road needs were greater. Now the job will be pushed back another year.

“This project is a casualty of the pandemic,” Benton County Public Works Director Gary Stockhoff told me, “or at least the reduced gas tax revenue side of the pandemic.”

Rebuilding Gibson Hill is expected to cost around a $1 million, and the county doesn’t have the money to do it this year.

But, Stockhoff says, the county has cobbled together some leftover CARES funds and also has hopes for help from the local metropolitan planning organization. Together, that would cover about 60 percent of the cost. (CARES is the federal law sending cash to states and local governments because of Covid.)

“I am hopeful that we can come up with the rest in the next six months or so, which will enable us to bid the project next year,” Stockhoff wrote.

At a work session next month, Benton County officials plan to brief the Albany City Council about the delay. (hh)

3 responses to “Repaving Gibson Hill: Wait till next year”

  1. James Engel says:

    I know I’m spitting into the wind…..but why, o why when the City took over N. Albany didn’t some one on the Council think to make the roads, yes all of them, to proper City standards? Instead, the Council allowed expansive development & the roads were allowed to be sorry, narrow proper county lanes! Now we pay the cost to allow for development & traffic. Saying any more is still spitting into the wind…

  2. Beth Walls says:

    Would be nice if they fix the road past Oak Grove School ( that is Bigger with more traffic) that goes up to Metge Ave. That part of the road should have been done when they enlarged the school. School buses have to travel this area.

  3. David Moore says:

    When roads break apart like that, it is usually because there is groundwater under the road in the wintertime. That groundwater makes the roadbed flexible, and heavy vehicles cause the road to break apart. The solution involves routing the groundwater elsewhere using culverts, curtain drains, and French drains. The same thing is happening on Queen Street between Broadway Street and the Calapooia River. That road was completely rebuilt about 22 years ago, but the County Road Department did not install a French drain alongside the south side of the road, so it stays wet under there during the rainy season. They have resurfaced it several times and the resurfacing is breaking apart – all because they did not install a groundwater collection system, that would have been relatively easy to do when they constructed it.


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